23 March, 2017

Wanting deep conversation

I'm someone who loves a good, long, deep conversation. 
This friend and I have sat through many wrestling meets,
cross-country meets, track meets, and car journeys too and
from such things. Wrestling meets are just not conducive to
long, deep conversations. Deep, yes, but not long! However,
we went camping with these friends last year and one treasured
memory for me is sitting for ages while the kids played and
talking about deep things.

But sometimes when I'm talking to a person I feel like I'm stressing them out. They're looking for an exit strategy and I'm not supplying one. I'm not sure how to deal smoothly with that.

Is the onus on me? Am I acting too needy and clingy and driving people away? Or is it that people don't want a deep conversation with me? 

Sometimes—and I understand this—they have other important things that need doing. That happens to me (and I hate it when I have to cut a good conversation short because I have to go to another thing on my schedule.) Or they're just not in the mood. Or maybe it is that they just don't really like me at all, and a shallow, short conversation is all they want (yes, I know about this too). Or having a deep conversation is way too scary.

Do you ever have thoughts like this?

I know that some of this is culture-driven (this article about adjusting to a slower-paced life in France showed me that), but that doesn't make it easier to cope with.

I also know a lot of this is driven by my personality (ENFP), I've just Googled "ENFP" and "deep conversation" and found others with similar complaints. It's a life-long problem for me. I got upset at our wedding because we had so many wonderful friends all in the same room and I just wanted to sit and have a long, deep conversation with them all. Of course it was an unrealistic expectation, but the pain was real.

There is also an element here of how being a missionary has changed me. I don't know how long someone will be in my life, so I have a tendency to go deep fast. I saw a great example of this the other day. It was with some ladies I was having lunch with, missionaries who don't know each other very well. We'd barely settled into our seats when one asked another, "I heard that you set aside your Tuesdays to spend time with God." It was a stunning plunge into deep conversation.

I'm just thankful I do have friends with whom I can have long conversations, although at this point in our lives it usually requires scheduling to achieve this. Long gone are the days of university when you could just sit around and chat for hours on end with little consequences.

I've meandered around here a bit, but I am still interested in your thoughts on my thoughts above. How do I handle the feeling that someone wants an exit strategy when I just want a deep conversation?


Sarah said...

It is hurtful, but I guess I try to put myself in their shoes. There have been times when someone starts talking to me and I'd love a deep conversation, but the timing isn't right (like my kids are about to run onto the road, for example). It wasn't that I didn't like the person, or don't like deep conversations, I just wished they'd picked their timing better.

Wendy said...

Hi Sarah. I don't usually feel too hurt, most times I assume the timing is bad (and that is often hard to judge), but recently I've started to wonder, because I don't sense other people wanting to have deep conversations with me as often as I'm open to have them with others.